Makeup Must-Haves

I love makeup. It’s so fun to play with and fun to wear. I’m one of those people that will start off telling herself to just put on some mascara, get a little carried away and end up with a dramatic smoky eye look for a trip to the grocery store. Pilgramages to Sephora and Ulta can easily take up several hours of my day as I oogle all the latest goodies to hit their shelves. Lately though, I don’t have much time for makeup. In fact, I’m lucky enough if I brush out my hair on any given day between exclusively pumping and doing all the mom things. Still, a little makeup makes me feel put together and more “me” during this bewildering stage called postpartum. I’ve been trying to consolidate my routine and find products that are easy and fast to apply without compromising quality or payoff. Additionally, I am always on the lookout for any item that has potential to make me look less sleep deprived and unkempt than currently am.

I’m excited to share with you my 12 current ride or dies. It’s rather a big number and I’d be lying if I said I applied them all daily…but in picking my favorites it was kind of like listing best friends; I felt wrong leaving anyone out. The price ranges are truly all over the board here. While I love indulging in fancy buys, nothing gets me going more than a drugstore brand product that packs a big punch. You’ll note that most of these are cream based. I used to be a straight up powder gal but recently have found that cream products are much friendlier to my dry skin and easier to apply. I can drop ’em in my purse and feel OK blending with my fingers for on the go touch ups. If you’re on the oily side, any good primer will still allow for cream based goodies to be your go-to.

All right, without any further a do…

1) Hangover Replenishing Primer $32

Kinda wish I knew about this when I was working nights in the emergency room; my makeup would flake and slide off my face at hour 8 of 12. This primer is made with coconut water to superbly hydrate and revive the appearance of skin. It honestly feels refreshing going on, not at all slimy like some other primers. Best of all, it helps my makeup look fresh even after a full day.

2) Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream $22

I found out about this sensational brand from a friend while visiting Russia, where the K beauty craze hit about a half year before it took over the U.S. After reading a gazillion positive reviews, I ordered and have not looked back since. This BB cream feels like a lightweight moisturizer while behaving like medium-full coverage foundation with the added benefit of a whopping 42 SPF. A word of advice: the light shade is very light, as my sister in law, Natasha, found found out after ordering hers. This is great news for a pale girl like me, but the rest of you should diligently peruse all the color options on the Missha site before buying.

3) Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer $27

This guy is the true heavyweight of full coverage concealers while remaining surprisingly (you guessed it!) moisturizing. Truly, moisture is the key to looking alive on a 4 hour sleep plus multiple caffeinated beverages day. Add in this concealer and you’re golden. Undereye bags or dark circles, redness, zits –  it will cover all with just a tiny dab, meaning your $27 investment will yield a promising return over a long time.

4) Fenty Beauty Match Stix $25

A game changer for when you need a quick contour because, let’s face it, a sculpted cheekbone makes us all feel fabulous. I have this in the cool shade of Amber but there are also warmer tones available, as well as a huge range of colors developed for concealing in addition to contouring. My favorite feature is that unlike the majority of cream or liquid bronzers out there, this product is entirely matte and will not leave you a hot glittery mess.

5) Algenist Reveal Concentrated Color Correcting Drops $38

This stuff is so cool! Formulated with good-for-you ingedients, these drops are designed to be mixed in with skincare or foundation to ensure an even, radiant complexion. My favorite use has been mixing it with a highlighter and stippling on my cheekbones and eye area for seriously awesome light-catching results.

6) Glossier Cloud Paint $18

One thing I’ve learned: whether I’m stressed from an upcoming meeting at work or a colicky babe and have five minutes for makeup – don’t skip the blush! A well placed dab on the apples of your cheeks can take me from sallow to lively in seconds. This one by Glossier has been my favorite for some time now due to the big time color payoff and excellent staying power. I’m also a total sucker for the cute packaging.

7) Smashbox Photo Op Undereye Brightener $20

I was recommended this by Smashbox rep who also found me an amazing red lipstick so I figured, why not? Many moons later, I reach for this on days when I don’t have time for a serious concealer job or just aren’t feeling it. It’s like a cup of coffee for my tired eyes. A quick swipe in my under eye area after applying BB cream and I look instantly perky. This tiny tube lasts forever and is only a fraction of the cost of another insanely popular under eye brightener.

8) Eyeko Me & My Shadow Waterproof Shadow Liner $12.50

As far as I’m concerned, eye shadow is completely optional on mornings when I have mere minutes to get ready. However, if I do need a little extra glam for the day, this shadow always comes to the rescue. The stick formulation with a handy dandy brush on the other end makes it a breeze to swipe on. This particular version is possibly being discontinued (sad face) on the Eyeko site; the flip side is that you can grab up the remaining colors at half price! The full range of shades are still available at many other retailers at the full price of $25 and can be found via Google.

9) NYX Tinted Brow Mascara $7.50

I have said time and time again, brows are the eyeliner of the face. I believe that nothing will define your eyes more than a strong brow. If there is one thing I will do before leaving the house, it’s to put my eyebrows on. In fact, I distinctly remember begging Vlad to remember to grab my brow product when he went home to get some of our things after I delivered Zoya. Brow mascara is the perfect alternative to the more time consuming pot and brush brow products .While some brow mascaras can be goopy, making application and a natural look difficult, I have found a faithful friend in this one. It does a great job of filling in gaps while delivering a “these are my natural amazing brows” look.

10) L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara Primer $9.99

No matter how little time I have, if I am going to apply mascara, I always do primer first. This is a practice I adopted while working those long 12 hour ER shifts. I found that primer was an excellent way of ensuring that I didn’t end the work day with a raccoon eye look. This one from L’Oreal (which is incidentally my most favorite drugstore brand) is a winner. My sparse lashes look fuller and longer. Plus, I can go about my day confident that my mascara is in the same place I put it that morning.

11) Benefit Roller Lash Mascara $25

This is my holy grail of mascaras. I’m sad to say that I have tried it and discovered its full glory only recently. Until then I bounced around from every drugstore and department store mascara you can think of, never finding one that was consistently excellent. Enter Roller Lash. Just as the Benefit site description claims, it gives me lift and length. Every. Time. For that kind of result, the $25 price tag is worth it.

12) L’Oreal Rouge Signature Matte Lip Color $11.99

Another L’Oreal goodie here. I actually received a set of these to review as part of an Influenster campaign, otherwise I probably would have never found these gems. Having a well-defined lip is important, especially because I have such a pale complexion, and I’m always on the hunt for great lip products. I have a love-hate relationship with matte lip color; while I love the refined look, I hate, hate, hate the cake-y, dry way they all inevitably make my lips feel. I am happy to report that L’Oreal may have solved the issue. These matte lip colors have the lightweight, watery feel of a stain which I absolutely love. They’re not runny either, making even the darker colors easy to apply on the first time. The product withstands hours of wear, including meals, and my lips feel pretty great. I count this as a win!

So there you have it – a list of my most favorite, grab if the house is on fire, beauty essentials. Feel free to message me with comments, questions, and also to share your must haves! Makeup is nothing without a great canvas, so look for my next beauty related post covering skincare!